Normal Is A Blessing
A few weeks ago, Caleb and I flew up to Connecticut to help Mom through surgery. Her surgery was scheduled for the day after Dad’s birthday and a dear friend ended up passing away two days before. To say we were anticipating a stressful, emotional week would be a generous understatement.
We spent Dad’s birthday savoring the sun, going for a hike, and getting his favorite ice cream at our favorite ice cream place. It made the day ever so slightly more sweet than bitter to be together. Caleb was up to his usual antics, so we were well entertained.
Early Friday morning, our alarms went off and we piled in the car. On our way to the hospital, I reached out for prayers for peace and “normal” in the following email:
You may or may not know that my mom is having surgery today. She’s having a total hysterectomy due to numerous large fibroids and cysts. It’s a preventative measure since my grandmother died of ovarian cancer.
It should be routine and outpatient. The doctor believes the pathology should be clean.
And yet, I’ve got this fear that things will go not as planned just like they did not when dad had his tumor removed. I’ve got another fear that someone will die every time I get pregnant. I know they are unrelated circumstances and my fears are irrational, but they are in my head anyways.
Here is my prayer for today and it would be a huge encouragement if you would pray, too. Pray that the God who made the universe (the same one who cares for the birds and the flowers) would prove himself by allowing things to be normal. We could certainly use a little normal in our family. And I could really use reassurance that my life will not always be full of cancer and death. It was dad’s birthday yesterday and our close family friend Joanne passed away on Wednesday, so I’m definitely on edge.
I woke up with Gideon on my mind. In Judges 6, he asks God to prove he would rescue Israel. Gideon lays a fleece outside and asks God to keep the ground around it dry while leaving dew on the fleece. God does it and the next morning, he covers the ground with dew and leaves the fleece dry.
Today is definitely a fleece day for me.
It was a fleece day. We sat there nervously as they put mom through pre-op preparations. Molly and I distracted ourselves with breakfast when they brought her back and tried to be entertained by Hoda and Kathy Lee’s segment of the Today Show as we waited for surgery to finish. The closer we got to the three hour mark, I got nervous. I got really, really nervous. It was in those moments that I started having flashbacks to when Dad’s surgery went hours past the doctor’s estimate because things were not going well.
Finally, as I felt like I was starting to shake like a leaf, the doctor came by. He said things went exactly as planned and he was pleased with the results. The one fibroid was impressively large (about the size of a grapefruit), but he was confident the pathology would be normal.
I had my doubts.
Keith’s pathology was not normal. Dad’s pathology was not normal. Almost a dozen other friends and family members’ pathology were not normal. I am not accustomed to getting good news when it comes to matters health.
It was five long days before Mom heard from the doctor’s office; things were normal.
I think even after hearing that news, I left my fleece out. I still needed to know that God was in control and could make normal happen. Part of me was waiting for the office to call back and say they had made a mistake.
A week later, it’s still true: Mom’s health is still normal.
I am so thankful that the God of Gideon is still a God who cares about my fears and worries. I am thankful that this God wants to prove he is worthy of our trust: he won’t bargain with us or change to fulfill our whims, but he wants to demonstrate how truly powerful he is and how much grace and mercy he has to give us (Malachi 3:10).
Our culture would like us to think that normal is boring and less than desirable. We are bombarded with thoughts that being normal means you’re lacking something.
I completely disagree. I have lived with abnormal and it’s not glamorous.
Normal is a blessing.